Servicing self-driving cars

This week has seen a lot of coverage in the mainstream press of Government plans to allow autonomous cars onto UK roads and the big change it will mean to the way we live.

The focus of these features has been around public acceptance of these cars, what they’d be like to live with and could we now have a few beers at the pub and let the car ‘drive’ us home.

In all the vox pops, interviews and expert opinions I’ve read or seen, not one person has mentioned servicing. To me, this seems like a vital area that needs to be resolved.

Working on the assumption that we get to the stage where the technology is proven to be safe and reliable and the cars are on sale, what happens when your autonomous car needs a service?

Currently there is no legal requirement for any private car, let alone an autonomous one, to be serviced by a trained technician. Yet if you want to have some electrics repaired in your house, you have to use a qualified electrician who is trained and insured to do the work.

So what’s going to happen when an autonomous car is serviced by an untrained individual (possibly DIY serviced) and there’s a accident as a result of poor maintenance?

The only option is for licensing of garages and technicians, a welcome move for all franchised retailers. However, it’s this aspect that could be one of the biggest changes to our industry in a lifetime, because it won’t just be autonomous cars that will have to be serviced by a licensed technician but all 37 million vehicles on UK roads.

Now there’s a boost for the aftersales department.

Tristan Young

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